5 Phillies with James Harden-esque exciting debuts in recent history

James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /
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Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

2. The Phillies sign Bryce Harper — March 28, 2019

After a long offseason filled with rumors and anticipation, perennial All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper went on to sign a 13-year contract with the Phillies in early March 2019.

The signing marked one of a few franchise-altering moves the Phillies ever made. And just weeks later, Harper made his team regular season debut — in what would be a convincing,10-4 Opening Day win against the division-rival Atlanta Braves.

While Harper went hitless in four plate appearances with two strikeouts, he drew an intentional walk that led to a Rhys Hoskins grand slam that blew the game open. A 6-3, seventh-inning Phillies advantage improved to a 10-3 lead.

Those in attendance could tell you how electric the atmosphere was inside the seemingly sold-out Citizens Bank Park. From the pre-game festivities and Harper greeting fans as he was introduced through Ashburn Alley — to Andrew McCutchen homering in his first plate appearance in a Phillies uniform to lead off the game — there was no better place to be than the venue that Thursday afternoon.

Harper seemed just as excited as Sixers fans following Harden’s can’t-miss team debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. After the game, he commented on his Instagram story: “Let’s go, what a start from Number 1!”

The song the two-time National League Most Valuable Player attached to the post: no other than Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” — popularized by the Philadelphia Eagles during their Super Bowl 52 championship run.

For the sake of Sixers and Phillies fans, here’s to hoping both teams have similar success in 2022.

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